"A gentleman should choose his friends, his tailor and his gunsmith with equal care." - Wyatt Earp
SOME THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER . . .
THE SECRET TO GOOD SHOOTING - The secret to good shooting is that . . . (wait for it) . . . there is no secret. Good shooting merely requires the application of some fundamental skills, just like playing golf, tennis or driving a car. We must first learn those skills through training, then practice them until they become second nature. (See below) Unfortunately, shooting is a very perishable skill. It’s not like riding a bicycle, where you can go for years without riding, then hop on and just pedal away, albeit somewhat wobbly. Shooting requires hand/eye coordination, technique and rigid compliance with safety rules, and a mistake with a firearm can be much more serious than falling off a bicycle. That’s why it’s important to practice regularly. Professional competitive shooters, who are sponsored by the companies that sell firearms and ammunition, fire thousands of rounds every month. So do Navy SEALS and other special warfare “operators” whose lives depend on their skill with firearms.
TRAINING VS. PRACTICE - It is important to understand the difference between “training” and “practice.” “Training” is learning a new skill. “Practice” is repeating that skill over and over until we have mastered it and it becomes second nature. It is generally accepted that it takes approximately 5000 (no, that’s not a typo) repetitions for our mind and body to master a new skill, sometimes referred to as “muscle memory."
PRACTICE WITH A PLAN - Albert Einstein said that, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” New students have proudly told us, “I go to the range for an hour every week and shoot 200 rounds or more!” But when we ask them what specific skills they are practicing, they give us a blank stare. If we go to the range merely to “shoot,” without having a plan, we may just be repeating (and reinforcing) our bad habits and wondering why our shooting never improves. Whether you are practicing at home by “dry-firing” with an unloaded firearm, or “live-firing” at the range, plan to work on one or two specific skills, e.g., aiming, trigger control, etc. It is far better to fire 50 rounds while focusing on a specific skill than to fire 200 rounds without a plan.
EQUIPMENT IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR SKILL - We like to say that, “Merely buying a guitar does not make you a musician.” (If it were so, I would have been a rock star.) While it is important to have quality firearms and accessories, skill comes only with training and practice. (See above.)
LASERS - Many shooters think that they are “good to go” because their defensive firearm is equipped with a laser. We think that lasers are a great “tool” to have in your toolbox, but they are not a substitute for first learning how to use the “iron” (metallic front and rear) sights that came with our firearm. Like any other device, a laser can fail us when we need it most so, we must first learn to use our conventional sights before we master the laser.
CALIBER - Students often ask us, “What is the best caliber for a defensive gun?” While the pros and cons of various calibers are endless, we like to say, “Carry the biggest caliber firearm you can shoot well.” It’sbetter to hit with a 9 mm than to miss with a .45.